Cultivating 21st Century Capabilities
We want our organizations to be “fit for the future”—resilient, inventive, engaging, and responsible. We want every person to bring his or her full ingenuity, passion, and initiative to work every day. Yet, few leaders and organizations have applied much ingenuity or attention to developing human beings who are fit to lead, invent and inspire in today’s “creative economy.”
Management training and development has traditionally focused on helping leaders to develop a particular portfolio of cognitive skills: left-brain thinking, deductive reasoning, analytical problem solving, and solutions engineering. Twenty-first-century leaders require new intellectual capabilities, including …
- Reflective thinking (consciously examining deep assumptions, getting at root causes)
- Systems thinking (understanding and architecting complex social systems)
- Design thinking (exploiting creative disciplines in problem-solving)
- Emotional intelligence (an ability to understand and shape human emotions to productive ends)
- Spiritual intelligence (an ability to apply ethical thinking to business dilemmas, and to imbue work with purpose and meaning)
- Social intelligence (an ability to use the new tools of the “social web” to create organizations that are transparent, flexible, meritocratic and collaborative).
These, and other, human capabilities will be increasingly critical to organizational success in a high-change, high-accountability environment. Unfortunately, there is little in the average business school curriculum or corporate training program that cultivates these, and other, essential capabilities.
What will it take to develop and support the sort of leaders who be capable of guiding 21st century organizations? Or, in other words, how do we fundamentally rethink management education, training, and development (indeed, all education, training, and development) to revitalize the “supply side” of the creative economy?